Comments

 
By Christopher on Books Dear Trevor, What a wonderful message to receive - thank you so much. I’m delighted that The January Man rang so many bells with you. That is exactly what I hoped for the book. I felt that a whole generation of men had had incomplete relationships with their fathers, and would respond to what I wanted to say. Lucky you to live where you do! It’s beautiful country. With very good wishes, Christopher
By Trevor on Books Christopher. I have just finished reading your book and wanted to thank you for the pleasure it gave me. I identified so much with many of your themes. I have just had my 70th. birthday and a keen walker, My father was similar in many ways to your father. Very formal after a busy war. The same reserved manner and the Kiwi polish tins!I am familiar with many of the areas covered in your wonderfully written book. As a young boy in the 1950's it was thought acceptable to spend all day out on my bike visiting Dawlish Warren, Yarner Wood on Dartmoor or down to Slapton Sands. Those were the days. Brought up in Devon,taught for many years in Shire counties, now living in Worcestershire. The country side around here is wonderful and there is much to see. I was watching a stoat last week on the back of the Malvern Hills and today a red kite flew over my cottage just outside Evesham. I have spread the word amongst my friends. Thanks once again. Trevor
By Christopher Somerville on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales Oops! Thanks for pointing that out!
By Vale of Glamorgan Tourism Association on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales
By Vale of Glamorgan Tourism Association on Marcross & St Donat’s, South Glamorgan, Wales really enjoyed your piece in yesterday's Times -great choice of walk (and indeed pub)... not sure that visitengland.com is the web address we'd point folk towards... do please send them our way or to the Wales FB page - but not England ;)
By Christopher on Books Dear George, What a lovely message to get! Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write. I’m really delighted that you enjoyed 'Our War' and were moved by it. I found it remarkable that by 1995, fifty years after the end of the war, no-one had yet collected together the threads of such a unique world-wide story that crossed bounds of race, colour, creed and nationality. It was an extraordinary experience to travel all over the world and have all those men and women decant their stories - some heroic, some ignoble, most of them traumatic in one way or another - into my little Walkman recorder. It changed the way I thought about that generation, and in fact helped me to understand my own parents better. With good wishes, Christopher
By George Pitt on Books Book “Our War” Dear Christopher, I have recently completed reading the above book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and would like to thank you for writing such a thoughtful, thought provoking and insightful tome. An ex pat, now in my 81st year and living in Merimbula on the Far South Coast of NSW,Australia. I well recall sleeping most nights in an Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden in North London, and later a Morrison shelter in the house. Thankfully, we all survived. I am not usually moved to scribing comments but was so moved on this occasion. Thankyou once again for the privilege of being able to read the fruits of your research. Sincerely George Pitt
By Christopher on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Our attempts to extend this walk by coming back via the excellent Red Lion pub at Milton Bryan were frustrated by a blocked footpath (FP No. 8) on the southern edge of the village, 200m NW of Town Farm. We reported this to the Ramblers (www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/pathwatch): Near Fountaine’s Farm on southern outskirts of Milton Bryan, the footpath runs NW across a field to enter a hedge and cross a stream on a footbridge (waymark arrow), 200m NW of Town Farm. The path should then turn left/SW along the stream to a pond at SP 97465 30036 approx. where it meets a lane running north to join Park Road. However, from the footbridge SW the path is impassable. It has been taken into a horse paddock with an electric fence; then 50m further SW it has been swallowed up in the garden of a newish house; then between there and the lane it disappears. After our complaint was passed on to Central Bedfordshire Council, the path was cleared, so you can now enjoy this nice extension. Thanks so much to Paul Aylott for taking the trouble to pass our report on, and to Richard Thompson (not that one!), Public Rights of Way Officer (West) at the Highways Dept. of Central Bedfordshire Council, for going out there and clearing and waymarking the route. Very good to know that a blocked path can and will be cleared if one takes the trouble to notify the Ramblers, and then follows it up if it slips through their net.
By Christopher on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Dear Paul, Thanks very much for getting in touch. Yes, we planned to come back via Milton Bryan - but someone has caused the footpath to disappear behind an electric fence in their paddock, and then into their garden. Details, as reported to the Ramblers on 28 October: Near Fountaine’s Farm on southern outskirts of Milton Bryan, the footpath runs NW across a field to enter a hedge and cross a stream on a footbridge (waymark arrow), 200m NW of Town Farm. The path should then turn left/SW along the stream to a pond at SP 97465 30036 approx. where it meets a lane running north to join Park Road. However, from the footbridge SW the path is impassable. It has been taken into a horse paddock with an electric fence; then 50m further SW it has been swallowed up in the garden of a newish house; then between there and the lane it disappears. We got all the way to the footbridge, and had to turn back and truncate our walk. If there was any kind of diversion to reach the village street, it wasn’t waymarked. Very frustrating! And no action to remedy things, as yet. With good wishes, Christopher
By Paul Aylott on Eversholt and Toddington Park, Bedfordshire Hi, I am local to the area and you could have visited Milton Bryan and the Red Lion on the way back, and picked up the return path. Another option was the GSR trail at the start gone though Ridgmont and back through Woburn Safari Park to the Green Man. Just thoughts, thanks for your weekly walks.
By Christopher on Fulking and South Downs, East Sussex Dear Anna, What an absolutely charming email - thank you so much for taking the trouble to send it. I’m delighted you enjoyed those two walks, and you’ll find one or two more in Sussex on the website. Do let me know how you get on. With good wishes, and thanks again, Christopher
By Anna on Fulking and South Downs, East Sussex Hi Christopher I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your walks! We stumbled across your site last weekend when looking for somewhere new to take the dog in West Sussex. Last week we did the Fulking walk starting from the Shepherd and Dog and on Saturday we did the 7 mile Burpham walk. You're so kind to share your routes and maps and it's astounding to know there are so many incredible places on our doorstep that i just didn't know about or think to visit! So thank you thank you! Have a brilliant week and happy walking! Anna x
By Victor Creeky on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Sorry Chris, I have no info on Maureen. You prompted me to look online and there are a few references to the bench from walkers but no background.
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Thanks, Victor Creeky. Who is/was Maureen, do you know?
By Victor Creeky on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Yes, a great walk. May I suggest a diversion to the stone circle at Moel Ty Uchaf on the way up. And you missed 'Maureen's Bench' tucked away a few yards along the upstream path at Pont Rhyd-yr-hŷdd where I usually have lunch! ha :-)
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Just at the top of the old drover's road at a place called Bwlch Nant Rhyd Wilym. The cairn's on the opposite side of the road, and you can climb up along a boggy track to Cadair Berwyn. There's another mountain track from the top of Cadair Berwyn that goes back down to Llandrillo, which would make a brilliant round walk - but not in rain, mist and high wind. Not for the likes of me, anyway!
By Steve Walwyn on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire I seem to remember reading about that at the time...it's at the top of the Berwyns if memory serves?
By Christopher Somerville on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Yes, Steve Walwyn, beautiful place. Up at the pass there's a memorial to 'Wanderer' - Walter Robinson, a 1920s cycling writer who inspired thousands of youngsters in post-WW1 Britain to get out and explore on 2 wheels. Bit of an unsung hero.
By Steve Walwyn on Llandrillo & the Berwyn Drove Road, Denbighshire Cycled around there many years ago Chris...Bala, Lake Vyrnwy, Bwlch-y-Groes, lovely!
By Suzanne I'ons on Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire I agree this is a very pleasant walk; you have reminded me that I need to do it again soon - haven't experienced it in the Autumn.
By Christopher Somerville on Haweswater and Swindale, Cumbria Folks - please note that the Mardale Inn at Bampton is now a self-catering place. However, you can still get refreshments and B&B accommodation in Bampton at the Crown & Mitre, CA10 2QR (01931-713225, crownandmitre.com). - Christopher
By Christopher Somerville on Clifton-upon-Teme, Worcestershire Thanks very much, Bob. Have any other walkers found problems here? You can report them to Worcs County Council Rights of Way team at https://e-services.worcestershire.gov.uk/onlinereporting/FindLocation.aspx?FaultType=8 or to the Ramblers at https://reportit.ramblers.org.uk/report-it
By Bob Thurtle on Clifton-upon-Teme, Worcestershire Being an experienced walker I have today tried to walk as per your article published 19.03.16.I can't think you wrote it this year as the descend down Witchery Hole is severely blocked by fallen trees. The path through wood (735642) is again nearly impossible to follow because of fallen trees and the bridge across the stream has been washed away. In my opinion your walk is now dangerous and I would suggest to take it off your website.
By Christopher on Laurie Lee’s Slad, Gloucestershire Dear Penelope, Thanks very much for getting in touch - I really appreciate it. So pleased you enjoyed the Laurie Lee walk - it is a beautiful place, and tremendously enhanced if you know a bit about Lee’s work. One of the few writers to truly immortalise a place. With good wishes, Christopher
By Penelope on Laurie Lee’s Slad, Gloucestershire I carefully kept your walk from The Times in 2014 for the Slad Valley - and today, we did it! We've just hiked the Laurie Lee Wildlife Trail. Glorious views across to the Severn from Swift Hill when we stopped for a picnic at lunch time; wonderful Lee poems en route to read and relish and reflect upon; and the sun came out this afternoon. Thank you for your walks and maps and directions. Looking forward to tackling some in Cornwall later in the month!
By Christopher Somerville on Wadesmill and Sacombe Green, Herts Really pleased you enjoyed it, Lesley. Let me know how you get on with other walks! Christopher
By Lesley on Wadesmill and Sacombe Green, Herts We've just returned from doing the Wadesmill walk you described in The Times on Saturday. We've had a lovely day, have a great sense of achievement and the walk was exactly as described. Now we've discovered your website and books and are looking forward to more adventures. Many thanks for this wonderful resource.
By Tony Watson on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Sorry, very confusing. Cadeleigh's web site makes mention of the Exe but not the Dart.
By Christopher Somerville on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Tony Watson, if you look at the map, you'll see that it is the River Dart I was writing about - just a different River Dart from the one you mean!
By Andy Harrison on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Remember kayaking down the dart when I was at Brookes.
By Tony Watson on Cadeleigh and the River Dart, Devon Wrong river, Cadeleigh overlooks the Exe. The Dart is miles away......on Dartmoor.
By Sarah Fletcher on Beaminster and Lewesdon Hill, Dorset We've just walked your Beaminster and Lewesdon Hill walk which was great, though there are certainly some steep hills in that area! We got lost looking for Stoke Knapp Farm so will have to do it all again to try and find it. However we cut down past Chart Knolle Farmhouse and managed to find the New Inn in Stoke Abbott and pick up the rest of the walk. We have previously done some of your Kent walks and as frequent visitors to Dorset will now work through your Dorset suggestions. Thank you for providing us with a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's walking. Sarah and Mike Fletcher
By bert hetherington on Corrour Station to Glen Nevis, Rannoch Moor, Scotland hi after a couple of operations on my arteries im now ready to go back to corrour to fort william but this time without the white stuff lol i hope but will be well prepared could do it in one day but am going to enjoy the scenery so two or three days out in the middle of nowhere sounds good to me i staed in meanach bothy last time but will carry tent this time so i can just stop whenever i wish no rush an might bump into some interesting people instead of just the deer all the best bert
By Peter Druce on RSPB Marshside Reserve, Merseyside Listen you I have been right next to said RSPB reserve all morning , too wet for golf at Muni !! But yes it's a super spot , just another NorthWest gem. Hope your all well. Pete x.
By Dennis Udall on RSPB Marshside Reserve, Merseyside Nice walk for you here Peter Druce
By Jane and Andrew Brown on Hallaton and Medbourne, Leicestershire Dear Mr Somerville We write to tell you how much we enjoyed your Hallton walk in glorious sunshine yesterday. We also met two other couples with The Times copy in hand whilst eating lunch in Nevill Arms cafe courtyard! With kind regards Jane and Andrew Brown
By RAN BANSAL on Wyre Forest, Worcestershire Hi been looking at your web and you have done a great job. I am a new comer to walking so will try some of the walks . Im in birmingham.
By Alma on Kintbury and Hamstead Park, Berkshire Many thanks indeed. You are a star! I, and my friends, will enjoy your walk I am sure - the right length and variety of countryside. Alma.
By Christopher on Kintbury and Hamstead Park, Berkshire Dear Alma, Here’s a map of our route, and the complete Ballad of Kintbury Bell. With good wishes, Christopher
By Anna Reid on Hawkley and the Hangers, Hampshire Today I did your Hawkley, Hants walk with husband and son. It was quite lovely, and your directions were immaculate. Thank you!
By Christopher Somerville on Chrishall and Harcamlow Way, Essex Keith Bennett notes that he found the footbridge at OS ref TL 451382 closed, presumably for repairs - no date for re-opening given. This is the bridge by which one crosses a stream immediately after crossing the B1039 while approaching Chrishall's church. You can detour by turning left along B1039 when you reach it; in 200m, right along Bury Lane; and in 350m, right (450386) on a footpath to the church. Thanks very much for this update, Keith - and for the note on the delicious taste of the freshly fallen plums along the route!
By Keith Bennett on Chrishall and Harcamlow Way, Essex Footbridge closed off on footpath leading from the B1032 towards Chrishall church. My wife and I very much enjoyed this walk last week and hope to do a part of it again tomorrow. The directions were spot on but the best bit was to discover many freshly fallen plums that tasted excellent. Thanks for another great walk and only ten miles from home.
By Christopher Somerville on Elton & Fotheringhay, Northants/Cambs Thanks, Keith. The disused railway sounds like a great solution - but I can't official endorse it, because it isn't a public right of way. To keep the right side of the law, Para 1 of the Walk Directions should read: From village green walk north up Duck Street passing Crown Inn on your right (pavement along road). In 450m, fork right on left bend (086945; Yarwell Mill, Sibson’). Follow this track north for 1 and a half miles; then left (081968) for 700m to meet Nene Way (076969). Left to meet Fotheringay Road in Nassington (068961).
By Keith Bennett on Elton & Fotheringhay, Northants/Cambs My wife and I have just returned from the Elton and Fotheringay walk into some fine Northamptonshire countryside. A gentle brezze to keep off the strength of the summer sun. We did find that the bridge over the Nene soon after the start of the walk was clsoed on the 25th June this year making it necessary to find another way across the Nene river. There is a lock bridge back in the village of Elton at Mill River End. The bridge path connects with a footpath that leads out to the disused railway. When you reach the old railway line turn right on to it and follow the until you join the path that you specified leading to the village of Nassington. This revised bit of the walk is, in our opinioin, just a enjoyable as the original. Sadly there seem to be no plans at the moment to re-instate the unsafe bridge and no alternative is suggested when you get to it. Herons, Red Kites, skylarks and many rooks congregating accompanied our most enjoyable walk. A good stop at the Falcon Inn Fotheringay added to our pleasure.
By Christopher Somerville on Wicken Fen and Reach Lode, Cambridgeshire Wonderful news, CJ - thank you!
By Christopher John Gallagher on Wicken Fen and Reach Lode, Cambridgeshire Delightful piece, Christopher. One thing you have not mentioned is that the fen has recently been repopulated with the beautifully irridescent tansy beetle. The last two strongholds of this magical insect were Wicken Fen and the banks of the Yorkshire Ouse, but the last sighting at Wicken was 32 years ago and the Yorkshire population has been considerably diminished over recent years. The population in one area, just to the north of York, at Rawcliffe, has remained robust and specimens from here were bucketed down to Cambridgeshire to re-establish the Wicken population. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29078447
By Christopher on The Langtons, Leicestershire Dear Jane and Don, Thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m delighted to picture you enjoying that walk between those lovely villages - all dressed in yellow, even if you didn’t set out that way! It’s a beautiful part of the country, and not often written about. With good wishes, Christopher
By Jane & Don Welch on The Langtons, Leicestershire Christopher We have just done the walk in the Langtons starting from Church Langton. What a beautiful walk, full of variation and very easy to follow your instructions. We live in south west Leicestershire which is much flatter so good to have a few hills to negotiate. The only problem was the Rape fields - in full bloom at present and a bit tricky to walk amongst without getting covered in yellow dust! Thankyou, we will definitely use your walks again Jane & Don Welch
By Christopher Somerville on North Meadow, Glos/Wilts Lovely comments, Ruth! And delighted that you and Steve like this. Yes, the celandines have been superb this year, haven't they? We were out walking yesterday at Hillesley in the south Cotswolds, and they were everywhere - along with primroses, cowslips, bluebells, dandelions, marsh marigolds, banks of violets, and moschatel in shady places. Since this is Confession Corner ... I haven't read The Story of My Heart either. But now I will!
By Ruth Walwyn on North Meadow, Glos/Wilts Thank you for your post but you don't know what you have started. Read about the yellows of the buttercups and primroses but no mention of the celandines that are in one of the photos. So then I was trying to remember what Richard Jefferies had said about the colour of celandines, something along the lines of them being more like the colour of sunshine than buttercups but he talks about the often so there are many quotes to find.. Then I realised that although I have read Wood Magic, Bevis, After London, and Amarylis at the Fair I have NOT read The Story of My Heart....how has this happened? So thank you again for leading me down this path, although it is not the one with map references from your blog! x
By Christopher Somerville on Robin Hood's Bay to Whitby, North Yorkshire Yes, it's hard to drag yourself away. You feel though you should be walking round in a pair of cracked old seaboots.
By Ann Sandell on Robin Hood's Bay to Whitby, North Yorkshire One of my favorite places, read you had trouble leaving
By Christopher on Stagenhoe and St Paul's Walden, Herts Dear Gordon, Thanks so much for getting in touch. Lucky you to live in Bedfordshire! - one of the least-explored counties, but some really superb walking (especially where you are, with those lovely chalk hills) and local history if you take the trouble to look. There are several Beds and Beds/Herts walks on the site, and I hope you'll enjoy exploring them and let me know how you get on. I'll mention them in my Blog - there's a link to it on the site home page. Do you know if any of the old Bedfordshire brickfields have their chimneys still standing? I'd love to base a walk around those rather eerie sites. Happy Walking! Christopher
By Gordon McCulloch on Stagenhoe and St Paul's Walden, Herts Dear Christopher, having read the Saturday Times for many years, I always look out for your very interesting walks, especially when they are local. Today, I've just discovered your website. It's a great discovery! Living in Barton Le Clay, Beds., I've walked (and run) around the Icknield Way often, but never knew the history you talked about during your walk in 2009. My wife and I look forward to undertaking your latest walk in nearby Stagenhoe. Best regards, Gordon McCulloch
By Christopher Somerville on Steeple Claydon and Hillesden, Buckinghamshire Yes, it was a really strange and stirring sight. I have been in love with Lancasters ever since reading 'The Dambusters' as a boy, and making one of those Airfix kits of a Lanc. That was the first time I ever heard of 'matt black' - that was the night camouflage paint you had to get in a tiny little tin tub from Humbrol. The trouble was that the glue dried so damn fast, I could never get the wheels or propellers to go round! That plane hung from my bedroom ceiling for some time; then I took it into the garden with a friend and we blasted it to bits with our .177 Diana air rifles. Happy days!
By Jeff Morris on Steeple Claydon and Hillesden, Buckinghamshire Great walk,love the Lancaster Bomber, wow.
By Christopher Somerville on Dungeness, Kent Shame the Times rather prudishly cut him out of my article! But what an extraordinary place. BTW, Ruth, I'm posting on Christopher's Blog nowadays, and rarely look at the Christopher Somerville page!
By Ruth Walwyn on Dungeness, Kent I wonder what Dickens would have thought about the naked rambler....more likely a character living at Byatt's Purchase House?
By Steve Share on Crimpiau, Snowdonia, N. Wales Beautiful looking walk Christopher.
By Paul on Naunton and the Slaughters, Gloucestershire A terrific walk, thank you. We kept this from the Times in March 2012 but only walked it today. Fabulous directions from your web-site. One addition you might make is to mention the tea shop at the mill in Lower Slaughter. Being half way round it is ideal for a snack or lunch. They serve delicious flapjack! Thank you again. Paul
By Genny on Bramley and Thorncombe Street, Surrey Just to say that 2 11 year olds and our dog really enjoyed this walk and the excellent pub at the end of the walk yesterday. Thank you Genny
By Christopher Somerville on Cranborne and Alderholt, Dorset Dear Campaignerkate, I was going by what was in the Circles and Tangents exhibition catalogue: http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/art388098 If they got it wrong - they need a good slap! Christopher
By campaignerkate on Cranborne and Alderholt, Dorset Hi Chris Are you sure Boveridge is 1943? I saw it today at Pallant House where it was billed as c1949, and the Spectator website has the same date. They say it was painted when EQ was mourning the death of Kit in 1948.
By mrmick56 on Red squirrels: Mirk Pot, Snaizeholme, North Yorkshire what a day out this it is walking from hawes to snaizeholm to see the red squirrels.who ever thought this idea out about setting up a squirrel viewing area is tops.my could not get his head round how many squirrels he was looking at some came within three feet of him.now he says every time we go to hawes we have to visit snaizeholm. one thing would be nice to know is what time are the squirrels fed ????
By Benn Handley on Great Fen Project, Holme Fen NNR, Cambridgeshire just a thank you for last Saturday's walk in The Times around Holme Fen - was there for sunrise - magical we look forward to your saturday walks along with working our way through your books take care Benn Handley
By Christopher on Newbridge Wood, Batt’s Wood and Dens Wood, East Sussex Dear Derek, Thanks for these helpful comments. Yes, I'm afraid the Witherenden farm section doesn't exactly murmur 'Walkers welcome'! Cottage with ornate porch - we did the walk in October, so maybe it was a bit more visible. Directions here: I didn't actually tell walkers to follow the permissive path to the cottage. I said: 'At top of hill, opposite cottage with ornate porch on left, keep ahead by fence (630274) to cross stile (YA) into Batt’s Wood.' Perhaps it would be better expressed as: 'At top of hill, with cottage with ornate porch visible over on the left, keep ahead ...' With good wishes for happy walking, Christopher
By Derek Gilman on Newbridge Wood, Batt’s Wood and Dens Wood, East Sussex Lovely walk but just a couple of comments. The metal gate beyond Witherenden Farmyard was closed with tightly knotted 'rope' and the only access to the field was by squeezing between the gatepost and a wooden post covered with barbed wire. The next metal gate was also roped shut and the stile was missing its 'step''. In the detailed instructions, the 'cottage with ornate porch' is barely visible. Perhaps it was in winter, with little foliage on the trees! By following the 'permissive access' arrow to the cottage (and porch!), you have gone too far. The owner - a very pleasant lady - said that this was happening all the time. Instead, just follow the yellow arrow straight into Batts Wood.
By Christopher on Books Dear Peter, Thanks very much for your email and I'm delighted that you've enjoyed my book. I have found it basically impossible to stay completely dry. The nearest I've come is using a lightweight Rohan anorak (or rain shell or whatever they call them nowadays) which cost about £250 - money well spent. I wear this in combination with Berghaus waterproof trousers that both zip and button up. Boots - I have very sensitive feet, prone to blistering, and I've found that Brasher Supalites are the best. They are made of leather but are very light and waterproof if kept regularly waxed. For very boggy ground I wear Mountain Hard Wear gaiters over the waterproof trousers - they fasten with Velcro, so there are no fiddly buckles and straps to do up with frozen fingers! I hope this helps. Happy exploring! Christopher
By Peter on Books Hi Christopher, Have just greatly enjoyed your 'Best Wild Places'. I'm living in the UK now after many years in Southern Africa. I have always been a keen long distance walker but I'm afraid I'm having difficulties adapting to the local walking conditions, ha ha! that's putting it mildly, especially as I prefer the wild places. Two things I've noticed, first: just how populated the UK is, hence my interest in the wild places to get away from the crowds, and secondly, how impossible it seems to keep dry outdoors in these islands. I would greatly appreciate your advice, as someone who spends so much time outdoors yourself in wild, wet and often boggy places, as to your personal choice in clothing and footwear to best stay dry in wet conditions (or is the idea just to accept you're going to get wet?). I know you could write a book on this subject alone (and why not! 'Walking in the UK's wild places for those from dry climates'?), and I have done much research online, but I believe you have the personal experience I would value. Particularly, what footwear do you chose to cope with boggy ground short of wearing wellies, which are no good if you are doing a distance walk with varying wet/dry ground conditions and carrying all your kit on your back? Thanks, would appreciate your input. Keep writing!! Cheers, Peter
By BobCap on Burpham and Rackham Banks, West Sussex Just a quick note to say this was an excellent walk - great views, beautiful countryside, interesting wildlife - saw the Marsh Harriers - and superb pub Harveys beer and tasty and well presented food.
By Christopher on Allendale Town and the River East Allen, Northumberland Dear John, Very pleased you enjoyed that lovely walk, and thanks for the heads-up on the landslide. I'll put it on my website. With good wishes, Christopher
By john on Allendale Town and the River East Allen, Northumberland Hi Christopher, we did your Allendale Town walk last week. Thought you'd like to know there has been a landslide closing the path along the river at Bishopfields. Diversion notices saying find another route are posted at both Oakpool and Allendale Bridge ends and (as we walked up to Chapel House and along the road at access points there too. Enjoyed the walk though, best regards John
By Christopher Somerville on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire Dear Amelia, Thanks for getting in touch. You've helpfully highlighted a problem with my website that I've never been aware of up to now - the fact that it offers two maps: A. The one you get to via the red link 'Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window', which is a scan of the actual OS 1:25,000 Explorer map that I used on the walk with the route and places highlighted in pencil. This is the one I somehow always assume that people will use, because it's the one I used myself. B. The one you get to once you've clicked through to Map A, via the purple link, which is a GPS plot on a Landranger map. I’m afraid the route on this second map contans a mistake in routing the walk north of the farm and taking it in a loop southward to meet the actual route at Douglas's Barn - named as such on the Explorer, but not on the Landranger. You'll see the proper route on Map A, approaching Edgcote Lodge Farm from the east and passing to the south of it. I should have checked this map, and I didn’t, so mea culpa. From now on I will check it, and thanks for alerting me to that. The problem of a lack of names on the Landranger is hard to get over. It doesn't work nearly as well to use the GPX/1:50,000 Landranger map in conjunction with my detailed instructions, because they refer to the Explorer map with its better naming and clearer route marking. So from now on we'll include a 'Buyer Beware' notice on the GPS map to that effect. Thanks very much for pointing it out! I'm sorry your walk was spoiled, but I hope you have many more wonderful ones. With good wishes, Christopher
By Christopher on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire Dear Gill, Thanks very much for getting in touch. I had no idea about HS2 going so close to the walk. What a disaster for the village. People can learn more by visiting http://www.thorpe-mandeville.info/www.thorpe-mandeville.info/HS2_rail_link.html With good wishes, Christopher
By Gill Nunn on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire Mr Somerville, you need to pass on to people that they'd better be quick with their Thorpe Mandeville walk - HS2 is going to score right across it, obliterating the hamlet, just down the hill from the church, of Lower Thorpe Mandeville. Something akin to a 12 lane motorway I believe! What a shame, because you are right, it is a beautiful area full of history.
By Amelia on Thorpe Mandeville and Upper Wardington, Northants-Oxfordshire There is a need for clarification of the route around Edgcote Lodge Farm. The Times newpaper article seems to indicate going south of the Farm. The notes for the walk states 'go through the farm yard. The map on the site shows the walk going north of the house. Signing around the first part of the walk generally is poor and some gates have additional chains. Unfortunately we did the walk with only the Times and the OS maps. With no signs or knowing where Douglas's Barn was we got lost.
By Christopher on Fyfield and Roding Valley, Essex Dear Hamer the Framer, What a lovely account! I am SO pleased you did this walk and enjoyed it on what was obviously a beautiful day. Yes, a map is always kind of helpful! ... but I've left mine at home on more than one occasion, too, so I can empathise. Those Essex farmers aren't always all that helpful at keeping waymarks and paths clear. But this is a really lovely bit of country, and it gives me great pleasure to think of you out there and amongst it. Christopher
By Hamer the Framer on Fyfield and Roding Valley, Essex My account of Christopher Somerville's lovely walk can be found here: http://blog.rowleygallery.co.uk/the-fields-of-fyfield/ . His map would have been useful when we did it!
By Christopher on Great Bardfield, Essex Dear John, Very glad you liked the walk - it's a beautiful part of the country, isn't it? The farmer should have reinstated the footpath across the field - it's a legal requirement, with a heavy fine for non-compliance. Here's the legal position: http://microsites.lincolnshire.gov.uk/countryside/public-rights-of-way-prow/information-for-farmers-and-landowners-/can-i-plough-a-prow-on-my-land/ In the specific case you've encountered - if you want to report the problem to the Ramblers - (http://www.ramblers.org.uk/what-we-do/protecting-where-we-walk/report-a-path-or-access-problem.aspx) - they'll take it up on your behalf. And this is helpful in pinpointing who to complain to in Essex County Council: http://www.chelmerandblackwater-ramblers.org.uk/footpath_matters.htm Hope all this helps! With good wishes, Christopher
By John on Great Bardfield, Essex Just done Gt Bardfield walk. Liked it but was badly frustrated by ploughed fields beyond Redfants Farm pig field and reservoir at 688311 (heading East?). Did not want to take your line but it was a LONG way round. Do you have a view on ploughing across public footpaths? This added at least 30 minutes to a long walk on heavy ground.
By Christopher on Friston Forest and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex Dear Guy, So glad you enjoyed it. Must have been hell's windy on those cliffs! Nice place to end, the Tiger - a proper pub, I thought. With good wishes, Christopher
By Guy on Friston Forest and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex Followed this walk on Tuesday and we were so fortunate to enjoy sunshine, for what seemed the first time in many months. A beautiful walk with many changing landscapes, the peace of Friston Forest and then the wide valley of Cuckmere Haven. A blast of strong winds whilst walking the Seven Sisters was then followed by the shelter of the attractive hamlet of Crowlink. Felt fully refreshed by the end, with the help of a pint of local ale in the Tiger Inn. A great way to spend the day, thank you.
By Christopher on The Golden Step Dear Julia, What a lovely email to get - thank you so much! I'm very glad that The Golden Step rings true for you, who obviously have a deep knowledge of and love for the island. Please give George a big kiss from me when you see him next, and also Manolis and Rula, and Argyro and Manolis Tzanakis - sit under their lemon tree for me! And a chink of the raki glass for Iannis Siganos. It's so nice just to type those names! With good wishes, Christopher
By Julia on The Golden Step Hi Christopher, I am in the process of reading The Golden Step and am SO enjoying it. I know George Afordakos and many of the places you talk about and I just wanted to say how much pleasure your book is giving me. Many thanks, Julia
By andyhz1 on Camasunary Bay, Isle of Skye Rather than returning along the B8083 (at 545172), why not left, then shortly right down to the beach at Kilmarie with its small graveyard full of McKinnons, & the possibility of visiting Dun Ringill & perhaps even Spar Cave (tides allowing...) There is a good path through Drinan to Glasnakille, & the return along that road is shorter with very much less traffic. Boats from Elgol can drop you at the head of Loch Scavaig where a circuit of Loch Coruisk, under the Black Cuillin, can offer wonderful views. The return trip should be booked ahead of course, & you must not miss it.
By john on Kinver Edge, Staffordshire Dear Christopher, I read your lovely piece about Kinver Edge in the Times last week and just wanted to drop you a line about our Bed & breakfast which is located on the lower slopes of Kinver edge. We have two very well appointed ensuite guest rooms and should you or your colleagues visit the area again you might consider visiting us. Our web site is to be found at www.kinverbedandbreakfast.co.uk. Kid regards, John Hawkins
By Christopher on Diamond Jubilee Walk – The Royal Landscape, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire Dear Karen, That's fascinating, thank you! Just shows how, when you go for a walk, you miss 100 times more than you notice. With good wishes, Christopher
By Karen Steele on Diamond Jubilee Walk – The Royal Landscape, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire Dear Christopher - I have just discovered you, sorry it took so much time. Going through my files of papers long forgotten I came across a print out of an article you wrote for the Telegraph in Walk of the Month. 19 Sept. 2004. through Windsor Great Park. I am very familiar with this park as my daughter and family live a stone's throw away and I much enjoyed the piece, much of which I and my grandchildren have walked many a time over the years they were at the Royal School. And at last I come to my main reason for writing. The Royal School. An important diminutive edifice in this great park, reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie! The school was founded by Queen Victoria for the schooling of her Windsor castle and Park staff's children. It has Royal funding and became one of the the late Queen Mum's pet supportive project. She often visited the children and never forgot to send them a giant I mean giant, Easter egg every year. When the Queen Mum died it was not long before Easter and the Queen was still in mourning. Nevertheless as she took on the role of support from her mother she still had time to remember to send the Easter Egg. She too, often visited informally and my grandson had the privilege of speaking to her twice and the age of 5 and 6. She was a familiar person to all the 80 children of that school, especially in the small chapel near to the pink Royal Lodge which the children attended once a week. She was often their without formality. My grandchildren were pupils for four years each and will never forget the experience that taught them manners, compassion, and love for other people, as well as the three Rs. Sorry for rambling, but my reason for all this is that I was disappointed that you were not shown the school on your walk, you passed very close by almost opposite the Royal Lodge but hidden by the trees. Forgive my rambling! This was a spontaneous morsel. I shall read more of your work. Regards Karen (Steele)
By Christopher on Christmas 2012 Supplement - West Wycombe walk Dear Jean, Thank you very much for drawing this to my attention. I have checked my records, and the original article I wrote and sent to the Times did not contain the word 'easy'. The Times Online version doesn't contain it either, but the paper version does. So I'm afraid it must have been added without my knowledge by a sub-editor just before the paper was published. I'm very sorry that you - and others, evidently - were misled, and I will forward your email to the Weekend Section to see if they can throw any light on the matter. I'll also post your email on my own website, so that anyone thinking of doing the walk will be aware of its grade - which I'd describe as 'moderate, with a couple of stiff climbs/descents'. With good wishes, Christopher
By Jean Chippindale on Christmas 2012 Supplement - West Wycombe walk Dear Sir, If I may, I'd like to take you up on the description of your Hellfire Caves, West Wycombe, Bucks walk which I did on 17 Feb. You desribe it as "6 miles Easy woodland and farmland tracks". First there was a very steep descent from the Dashwood Mausoleum to West Wycombe, quite a long uphill haul from W Wycombe up to Great Cockshoots Wood, followed by a fairly steep at first descent towards Chorley Farm and finally an extremely steep ascent from the valley back up to Hearnton Wood. So I felt your description was somewhat misleading, albeit the tracks themselves were good. I can read maps and I admit I hadn't properly read the contours but for anyone who enjoys walking who doesn't read maps who is dependent on a written description and who may not be very young or not as strong a walker as you clearly are, the descents and ascents on this walk could be regarded as quite a trial. Indeed we met some not so young people on the steep descent from Hearnton Wood to Chorley Farm and they were really struggling with their footholds. And if there are problems of this kind, it can take longer to complete such a walk - and miss the train! However, it was a very lovely walk landscape-wise so we did enjoy it but I found it a challenge in places. Yours sincerely Jean Chippindale
By Christopher on Fences on the Moors Dear Stephen, I agree that the fences are ugly brutes, and the project's use of helicopters is a thundering nuisance. But I've had a look at the 'Moors for the Future' website (www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk), and it does seem to go out of its way to explain what's going on and why, as well as stressing that these fences are not permanent, and will be removed once the project is complete. So it looks as though it is a case of the means justifying the end, upsetting and long-drawn-out though the means certainly are. With good wishes, Christopher
By Stephen Bernhoeft on Fences on the Moors Dear Christopher, Fencing has been installed on Kinder and other Peak District moorlands to prevent overgrazing by sheep and the project is "Moors for the future". As a walker in the area for at least 25 years I find the enormous quantity of wire fencing depressing. This is the main problem as it is permanent. Almost no serious attempt a public consultation - fencing sprung upon us. Contrast with alacrity/ease with which "Fire danger" notices are posted. Public essentially in the dark. Almost continuous helicopter traffic over past 4 years or so. Summit plateau covered with plastic corrugated water traps, white builders merchant type sacks etc for many years. I happened to see the project in a magazine with 2 days before deadline for comments. Fencing project already cast in stone - only the line of the fencing nominally up for discussion. Much similar new fencing placed over Bleaklow Moor etc over past 5 years; similar comments apply. No response from Peak website and comment form length-limited to 455 letters. I have photos if required. Regards Stephen.
By john on Website Added to website for information to others
By Ian Rodger on Website John, You could warn people that this happens and get them annoyed with google, rather than your website. At the moment, like me they will think it is a badly written web site (until you explained) Regards, Ian
By john on Website Hi Ian, Thanks for your praise Ian. I run the site for Christopher and understand your comments about the map. Unfortunately that is the standard functionality of Google maps and hard to do much about. Best Wishes, John Waters
By Ian Rodger on Website Excellent website bar one problem (unless I’m not doing it right). When you get a walk up, and you try to go back to the map (which you already have expanded to the area you want), it appears to revert back to the bigger map and you have to start again. Well done anyway. great content.
By Christopher on Brecon Beacons Dear Paul, Thanks very much for the suggestion. It sounds like a lovely walk and we were planning on doing A Good Walk in the Brecon Beacons so will look into it. Christopher
By Paul Davies on Brecon Beacons Caer Fanell walk - Have you done the waterfall walk following the Caerfanell up to its source on Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion plateau, the valley has the Canadian War Memorial at head of it, in the Brecon Beacons? Highly recommend it, great waterfalls.
By Christopher on Elsdon and Gallow Hill, Northumberland Dear David, Thanks very much for this nice feedback. Really pleased to hear you enjoyed the walk, in spite of the wet feet. With good wishes, Christopher
By David Butler on Elsdon and Gallow Hill, Northumberland After seeing your Elsdon, Northumberland, walk appear in The Times a couple of weeks a ago, I decided to try it with three friends with whom I go walking with every fortnight, and I must say, we thoroughly enjoyed it. As you know, Northumberland has been very wet, along with the rest of the country, but apart from the second last field before retururning to the village (which was VERY wet) the going was not too bad. Thanks very much the guide, I'll no doubt use more of your walks in the future.
 Posted by at 11:26